Today ATi announces the long awaited R200 , from now on called 'Radeon 8500'. 'Announcing' doesn't mean you will be able to buy it anytime soon (although 'soon' is obviously a rather subjective measure), but a few meant-to-be lucky people of the so-called 'online press' were blessed with R200-samples last week to spill the beans about the upcoming ATi 3D-chip.
Lately the times have been quite rough for the Canadian 3D-chip and card maker, which used to be on the top of the food chain only a couple of years ago. Saying the magic word '3D-acceleration' today goes along naturally with the brand NVIDIA, and since this Sunnyvale, CA based company finally completed their task of saturating each and every segment in the PC 3D business, ATi's star has been falling quite rapidly.
ATi's last year's release of the Radeon-family had ensured a lot of press and attention for the guys in red and white, but in the end it turned out that Radeon had only been a half-hearted attempt to push NVIDIA from its throne, because the pure hardware features of Radeon were unable to compete with the beefy products of the Californian 3D-Monster company. This time ATi decided to play all its cards. Radeon 8500 is supposed to kick NVIDIA's top products were it hurts. Thus Radeon 8500 comes with tons of features as well as an overdose of fill rate and memory bandwidth power. It seems as if ATi decided that this time it's got to be all or nothing. Let's see if the new R200 has the guts and steroids to do the job.